Ten Rounds Up the Red Carpet of the 2020 Oscars
At last night’s history-making Academy Awards, a politically-charged atmosphere with important topics of diversity, environmental change and immigrant crisis trumped the conversations about the actual garments that walked into the Dolby Theatre. Once upon a time the most important red carpet of the year, this year’s Oscars felt more like a conference on film, entertainment and social affairs than a fashion extravaganza. And rightfully so. For the exuberant, ridiculous and aspirational fashions, there are events like the Met Gala and the Fashion Awards. Instead, last night’s proceedings saw most our favourite A-listers choosing garments that spoke of their style in a subtle tone. However, that doesn’t mean we’re ready to declare this an end of an era. It’s a new chapter in the 92-year-long romance novel with film and fashion in the starring role. All of the greatest love stories are complex…
With all that mind, it would be totally missing the point not to still pat on the backs of those who brought their A-game. Don’t expect Björk’s swan dress, Celine Dion’s backwards tuxedo or even Nicole Kidman’s chartreuse column dress by John Galliano for Dior. The most powerful style messages of last night came with something a little bit extra.
Perhaps the best reflection of what the night was all about came courtesy of Natalie Portman. The actress & activist wore an embroidered gown from Dior’s SS20 haute couture collection with a black cape from the house’s SS18 couture collection, which was, for this occasion, embroidered with names of female directors behind standout films of 2019 which didn’t get nominated in a category that’s been so predominantly male from the ceremony’s inception.
Billy Porter brought his own signature drama in a custom Giles Deacon, proving that all is not lost when it comes to the high glam of the red carpet. And joining him in breaking the archaic, strict black-tie rules of the Oscars were Billie Eilish and Zazie Beetz, each in their own unique way. While Eilish donned what we could basically call a pair of red carpet trackies with Chanel’s signature which she accessorised for the gawds, Beetz was dripping in 120-carat Bvlgari diamonds which lifted her black sequinned cocktail two-piece by Thom Browne to new heights.
Adding a sense of buoyancy to the event was Kristen Wiig whose Valentino SS20 Haute Couture look was all about the joy of highest fashions without a sense of constraint. Same spirit came courtesy of Julia Butters – the little girl from that long monologue in Quentin Tarantino’s Unce Upon A Time… In Hollywood. At the age of 10, she was the embodiment of youth and excitement in a custom Christian Siriano cotton candy fantasy.
And then there’s the classic-with-a-twist bunch – those actors who didn’t try to reinvent the wheel but simply excelled in their expression of Hollywood style. And for that, we applaude them. Laura Dern looked stunning as she picked up her first (and very delayed) Oscar in a custom, soft pink satin Armani Privé gown. Comedienne extraordinaire and the person who single-handedly made this year’s BAFTAs slightly less sombre brought the best interpretation of metallic sequins on the carpet (and there were plenty). On the carpet, Rebel Wilson played the role of Veronica Lake flawlessly in her gold Jason Wu off-the-shoulder frock. Saoirse Ronan might not have surprised anyone with her choice of brand, but she did indeed go for something different in terms of silhouette. Alessandro Michele and his Gucci team imagined Ronan in a ruffled two-piece, all about making her look like the queen of the world which, in our minds, she already is. And for perhaps the most classic on the list – it’s Brad Pitt in bespoke Brioni, looking as dapper as ever with his first Oscar in hand.
But totally out of category, and perhaps with the most powerful statement of the night was Jane Fonda. The legendary actress and trailblazing activist wore a red sequinned Elie Saab gown she originally wore to the Cannes Film Festival in 2014. To present the final award of the night for Best Picture (which went to the team behind Parasite, making it the first non-English-speaking film to get the title), Fonda matched her frock with a red coat in hand which she announced was the “last thing last article of clothing that I will ever buy,” when she was arrested for protesting while wearing it last year. Powerful, poignant and in a league of her own – Fonda might have skipped the red carpet, but hers will indeed be remembered as one of the most significant looks of the night.